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Brands drop former EXO member Kris Wu after allegations of sexual misconduct

Kris Wu

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    Multiple luxury brands have dumped Chinese Canadian actor Kris Wu after claims of his sexual misconduct triggered public outrage and boycott threats.

    The allegations: Wu, 30, who shot to fame as a member of K-pop boy group EXO, is accused of coercing young women into sex by offering opportunities in show business.

    • Wu’s accuser, Du Meizhu, 18, first came forward on July 8 with screenshots of alleged conversations between them, as well as people she claimed worked for him, according to The New York Times. She described her exchanges with two alleged associates.
    • A screenshot dated July 2020 shows an individual asking Du if she was interested to work in movies. This person later revealed that he worked for Wu’s studio.
    • Du, then 17, said she was invited to Wu’s home. However, she was allegedly pressured into drinking alcohol once there. She eventually lost consciousness and found herself in Wu’s bed, she said. After the alleged incident, she wrote on Weibo, “Indeed, we are all softhearted when we see your innocent expression, but that does not mean that we want to become playthings whom you can deceive!”
    • Soon, another associate allegedly contacted Du and offered what she believes was hush money. When she declined the offer, she was allegedly threatened with a lawsuit. Later, a sum of 500,000 yuan (about $80,000) was wired into her bank account. She said she has been returning the money in batches.
    • Others have since started to post similar claims against Wu. Among them is Zhang Dansan, a former girl group member who reportedly shared screenshots of Wu allegedly asking if she was a virgin.

    Wu’s response: Wu, who left EXO in 2014 to pursue a solo career in China, has denied all allegations in a statement on Monday.

    • “I only met this woman once on Dec. 5, 2020 while with a group of friends,” he said of Du, as per Variety. “I declare I have never done anything like ‘selecting concubines,’ coercing women into sex, drugging people to rape them, or engaging with underage girls!”
    • Wu maintained that he did not force the woman to drink. “There were a lot of people there that day who can bear witness,” he said, according to ABC News.
    • The age of consent in China is 14. Wu then assured the public, “If there really had been this behavior, I would certainly willingly go to jail.”

    Brands sever ties: The scandal has sparked a massive backlash that saw some threaten to boycott companies with existing partnerships with Wu. As of this week, at least 11 luxury brands have reportedly suspended or dropped deals with the 30-year-old.

    • Bulgari, Kiehl’s, Lancome, L’Oréal, Porsche and Vattie, among others, started removing social media posts that featured Wu. Chinese companies such as Tencent Video and Master Kong Ice Tea also scrapped appearances and deals with Wu, the Associated Press noted.
    • Louis Vuitton, which temporarily removed related posts and reinstated them later, only suspended Wu. Social media users criticized the company for not cutting ties with him outright.

    Featured Image (Cropped) via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.5)

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